Rose Adway Interviewed By Bernice Bowden

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: Rose Adway

405 W. Pullen, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 76

"I was born three years 'fore surrender. That's what my people told me.

Born in Mississippi. Let me see what county I come out of. Smith

County--that's where I was bred and born.

"I know I seen the Yankees but I didn't know what they was. My mama and

papa and all of 'em talked about the War.

"My papa was a water toter in durin' the War. No, he didn't serve the

army--just on the farm.

"Mama was the cook for her missis in slavery times.

"I think my folks went off after freedom and then come back. That was

after they had done been sot free. I can remember dat all right.

"I registered down here at the Welfare and I had to git my license from

Mississippi and I didn't remember which courthouse I got my license, but

I sent letters over there till I got it up. I got all my papers now, but

I ain't never got no pension.

"I been through so much I can't git much in my remembrance, but I was

here--that ain't no joke--I been here.

"My folks said their owners was all right. You know they was 'cause they

come back. I remember dat all right.

"I been farmin' till I got disabled. After I married I went to farmin'.

And I birthed fourteen head of chillun by dat one man! Fourteen head by

dat one man! Stayed at home and took care of 'em till I got 'em up some

size, too. All dead but five out of the fourteen head.

"My missis' name was Miss Catherine and her husband named Abe Carr.

"I went to school a little bit--mighty little. I could read but I never

could write.

"And I'm about to go blind in my old age. I need help and I need it bad.

Chillun ain't able to help me none 'cept give me a little bread and give

me some medicine once in a while. But I'm thankful to the Lord I can get


"I don't know what to think of this young race. That baby there knows

more than I do now, nearly. Back there when I was born, I didn't know


"I know they said it was bad luck to bring a hoe or a ax in the house on

your shoulder. I heard the old folks tell dat--sure did.

"And I was told dat on old Christmas night the cows gets down on their

knees and gives thanks to the Lord.

"I 'member one song:

'I am climbin' Jacob's ladder

I am climbin' Jacob's ladder

I am climbin' Jacob's ladder

For the work is almost done.

'Every round goes higher and higher

Every round goes higher and higher

Every round goes higher and higher

For my work is almost done.

'Sister, now don't you get worried

Sister, now don't you get worried

Sister, now don't you get worried

For the work is almost done.'

My mother used to sing dat when she was spinnin' and cardin'. They'd

spin and dye the thread with some kind of indigo. Oh, I 'member dat all


Rosanna Frazier Rosetta Davis facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail